It’s been almost a year since President Obama announced his plan
to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, arguing
that removing them would be impossible and contrary to our character.
We’ve watched from afar as Republican candidates have vowed to overturn
them and as Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has strongly supported Obama’s plans.
At the moment, Obama’s plan is at a legal standstill as it sits over
at the New Orleans federal appeals court, the court that heard the arguments
in July, but has yet to arrive at a decision.
Immigrant advocates contend that the three-month wait has been too long.
Just last week activists launched a nine-day fast and vigil outside the
federal courthouse, where the three U.S. Court of Appeals judges for the
5th Circuit are pondering the fate of millions of illegal immigrants.
Delay ‘Not Uncommon’
Erin F. Delaney, an associate professor of law and political science at
Northwestern University said that the delay is not uncommon, especially
given the complicated legal issue that’s at stake.
She understands that everyone is upset. Three months with this complex
of a case is not out of the norm at all, said Delaney, a former U.S. Supreme
In November, Obama announced that as many as 5 million illegal immigrants
would be shielded from deportation, and that included undocumented parents
of legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens – providing they
meet certain criteria.
Obama’s plan would also expand the 2012 program that deferred the
deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to
the U.S. illegally as children and gave most of them work permits.
Obama’s plans were put on hold in February when 26 states, led by
Texas, sued the administration, saying that its moves violated the Constitution.
In February, a federal judge in Texas put them on hold until the case
is fully addressed. In May, the 5th Circuit upheld that injunction.
The 2012 program is not affected.
Legal experts say that the court battle could be pushed late into Obama’s
term, or even into the next administration. Essentially, the court has
to accept a case by January to reach a decision before June, when it adjourns.
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